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KILLER APES Are We Descended from Killer Apes????? Basic model Humans evolved from murderous apes Murder and violence are deep in our nature First proposed by Raymond Dart Popularized by Robert Ardrey – African Genesis 1961 Hugely popularized by Desmond Morris 1967

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KILLER APES

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Killer apes l.jpg

KILLER APES

Are We Descended from

Killer Apes?????


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Basic model

  • Humans evolved from murderous apes

  • Murder and violence are deep in our nature

  • First proposed by Raymond Dart

  • Popularized by Robert Ardrey – African Genesis 1961

  • Hugely popularized by Desmond Morris 1967

    • 12 million copies sold, 23 languages, still big seller

  • This model explains why we are so violent today

    HORSE MANURE


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Quote fromAfrican Genesis

  • Man had emerged from the anthropoid background for one reason only: because he was a killer. Long ago, perhaps many millions of years ago, a line of killer apes branched off from the non- aggressive primate background. For reasons of environmental necessity, the line adopted the predatory way.


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Who came up with this idea?

RAYMOND DART

1898 - 1888


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How it all began

  • He took a job at the University of Wittswatersrand, South Africa, 1922

  • Found an odd fossil in some limestone fragments, 1924

  • Proclaimed it to be the missing link

  • Everyone laughed at him


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Raymond Dart and the TAUNG baby

Dart R.A. (1925):

Australopithecus africanus: the man-ape of South Africa. Nature, 115:195-9.


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Taung babyBuxton limeworks, near village of Taung, South Africa

  • find consisted of a full face, teeth and jaws, and an endocranial cast of the brain

  • Age at death? If human, 6 years old, but dated at 3 yrs

  • brain size was 410 cc, and would have been around 440 cc as an adult


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Australopithecus africanus

  • Dart chose this name because to be ‘conservative’

  • ‘southern ape of Africa’

  • ‘missing link’

    • Small brain

    • Human dentition

    • Bipedal – upright walker


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Why did people laugh at Dart?How science works

  • Everyone knew that big brains were the hallmark of humans

  • Big brains had to be really early

  • British scholars wanted England to be the hearth of humanity

  • Piltdown Man fit all of these need


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Piltdown Manreally famous forgery

  • Skull and mandible found in Piltdown gravels – 1922 – by Charles Dawson

  • Named it Eoanthropus dawsoni

    • Dawson’s dawn man

  • Proclaimed the missing link

  • Readily accepted by British scientists

  • The Earliest Englishman, A. S. Woodward, Watts and Co. London, 1948,


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Missing Link?

  • Piltdown man, or Eoanthropus dawsoni was the expected "missing link“

  • It was a mixture of human and ape with the big brain of Homo sapiens and primitive ape-like jaw and teeth.

  • AND - it was British!


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Reconstruction of skullPiltdown forgery

Note big brain and primitive teeth


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Famous British scientists supported Piltdown Man


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Forgery Uncovered in 1953what the bones really were

  • Piltdown I skull: Medieval, human, ~620 years

  • Piltdown II skull: Same source as Piltdown I

  • Piltdown I jawbone: Orangutan jaw, ~500 years

  • Elephant molar: Genuine fossil

  • Hippopotamus tooth: Genuine fossil

  • Canine tooth: Pleistocene chimpanzee fossil.

  • All stained, filed, broken to look ‘authentic’


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A. Africanus vs. Piltdown

Huge brain

Primitive teeth

Human teeth – small brain

Date 3.3 mya


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Two common dangers in science

  • the danger of inadequately examining and challenging results that confirm the currently accepted scientific interpretation

    • Big brains HAD TO BE EARLY

  • a result, once established, tends to be uncritically accepted and relied upon without further reconsideration.

    • Piltdown must be correct

    • Taung baby/A. africanus must be apes


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Back to Raymond Dart:why he was ignored

  • It didn’t look like Piltdown

  • Dart was not famous, and he was in a ‘backwater’ place

  • It looked too much like an ape

  • It was found in Africa – no way humans appeared there first

  • Dart put the fossil under his bed and quit talking to people


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Robert Broom to the rescue


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Robert Broomborn Scotland 1866

  • Assistant in Paleontology at Transvaal Museum

  • Admired Dart’s work

  • He searched for, and found many other australopithecines in South African caves


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Australopithecineslots of them All found only in Africa

A. anamensisA. afarensisA. africanusA. garhiA. aethiopicus

A. robustus

A. boisei)


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Australopithecus africanus(southern ape of Africa)

  • Brain size between 420 and 500 cc

    • This is a little larger than chimp brains (despite a similar body size), but still not advanced in the areas necessary for speech.

    • Modern humans = 1,250 cc

  • Change in dentition

    • although the teeth and jaws of africanus are much larger than those of humans, they are far more similar to human teeth than to those of apes

    • the shape of the jaw is now fully parabolic, (like humans)

    • Reduced canines

  • Reduced prognathism

  • Ape-like arms and legs (arms longer than legs)


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Gorilla

A. africanus

Modern human

NOTE

Decrease in jutting face

Decrease in brow ridges

Loss of canines


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Dart starts work again

  • In late 1940s – scientists finally accept the australopithecines

  • Dart is finally vindicated

  • He works at the site of Makapansgat, South Africa, another limestone quarry/cave

  • His interpretations of these materials very odd, and not accepted today


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Different ideas about africanus


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Here comes Killer Ape idea

  • Dart found lots of animal and australopithecine fossils

  • Found baboon skulls with holes in them

  • Argued that killer apes hunted them

  • A. africanus = killer ape

    • "osteodontokeratic" (bone, tooth and horn) culture


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Baboon skulls

  • These holes actually puncture marks from leopards

  • Get similar marks on australopithecine skulls

  • Dart = africanus = murderer

  • Today = prey


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"osteodontokeratic" (bone, tooth and horn) culture


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Current Interpretation

  • Smashed chewed up bones – not tools or weapons

  • BUT– Dart’s ideas created lots of interest

  • Our ancestors – australopithecines = savage and blood-thirsty hunters

  • Hunting hypothesis developed in 1960s

  • Popularized by Robert Ardrey’s book, African Genesis in 1961


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Hunting hypothesis

  • A meat-based diet and predatory behavior was the adaptation that led to us

  • Hunting led to the invention of the earliest tools – weapons for hunting and defense

  • Humans are basically aggressive, violent, and territorial animals

  • Unlike the peaceful vegetarian chimps

    HORSE MANURE


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Why hunting hypothesis doesn’t work

  • Australopithecines = teeth = mixed diet of gritty, tough plant foods – heavy chewing

  • Australopithecines= no tools

  • Analysis of animal bones found with early hominids = left over bones

    • Crummy pieces like heads

    • Cut marks over tooth marks

  • Scavenged from carnivore kills


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Killer Apes??

Hunting hypothesis -1960s

Clever Scavengers

1970s – hunting hypothesis fails


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But – blood and guts sells

  • Ardrey’s book – African Genesis = huge impact on popular thinking

  • Desmond Morris’s book – Naked Ape even bigger

  • Morris’s idea = humans = animals was novel and shocking – not bad

  • He overdid it – portrayed hyper-aggressive male dominated society –

  • Today – our violent origins = false idea that is deep in our thinking


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Why we are so pessimistic

  • After WWll = people really demoralized about human behavior – Germans killed 11 million people

  • 20th century = the term genocide created

  • Numerous genocides – continue today

  • Biggest one??


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Our AncestorsExcellent Scavengers

www.archeologiasperimentale.it/ stefano_ricci.htm


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Images of A. afarensisMore Ape??


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or Human??


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